Spoke, a new app which provides music with mindfulness benefits, has secured a £1.1 million pre-seed investment led by Ada Ventures.
The funding will be used to expand its team, further develop the product and train more artists to create music that can have a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of a younger generation.
Based on 18 months of research and development with artists and scientific advisors, Spoke combines music with the therapeutic technique of mindfulness, where you focus on awareness of the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Artists are trained by a team of clinical psychologists, therapists and neuroscientists so that each lyric, beat, sound and melody is designed to help users achieve a desired mental state. The result is music that has the same impact as scientifically-proven therapeutic practices.
The more a user listens to music through Spoke, the greater awareness they will have of their emotional state and deeper knowledge of how their mind works on a psychological level.
“Spoke brings together the seemingly opposing worlds of music culture and mental health,” said Ariana Alexander-Sefre, founder and co-CEO of Spoke.
“We believe that the music industry can play an incredible role in the mental health of listeners and artists, and fundamentally needs to change. There are many mental health apps available, but there is a generation being under-served.
“This is our first step forward – our mission is to show just how powerful music can be and how industry must evolve. We want everyone to improve their inner world to improve the outer world.”
Initially focussing on under 25s, Spoke has started with hip-hop first before widening to musicians across genres. Spoke is currently working with over 25 artists, including Jordy, VIC, and Jamilah Barry. The company is eager to work with more musicians across a variety of genres around the world.
Alexander-Sefre continued: “One major reason I was inspired to start building Spoke is due to the growing issue of young male suicide. I’ve experienced this very closely, with the youngest I’ve known being only 15-years-old and it understandably has a life-changing impact on those closest to them.”
“My own research into this problem looked at the difference that early interventions can make if they are more accessible. On average there is a 10-year gap between men and women when it comes to knowing that they have a problem and seeking help for their mental health.
“Current methods aren’t appealing early enough to young men, and it was through a live hip-hop meditation event that we found a huge opportunity to engage younger people through the music they already enjoy.”
Alongside Ada Ventures, other participants in the pre-seed round include Bethnal Green Ventures and angel investors Nikhil Shah, co-founder of Mixcloud; Marla Shapiro, founder of HERmesa; Toby Moore, co-founder of Space Ape Games; Emma Blackburn, CFO of Ascension Ventures; and Ed Zimmerman.
Tom Adeyoola, Founder of Metail, has also invested in and is now Spoke’s chairman.